Hero Coffee Roasters set out to create a coffee shop for everyone. You won’t find pretentious coffee snobbery here, just good food and beverage to enjoy among friends.
OUR ARTICLEBY: Christopher Blatner Contributing writer
As you’re keeping up with the quick beat of life in The Loop you could blink and miss Pickwick Place, a short and narrow alleyway pinched between its adjacent buildings in the heart of the downtown business district. At the end of the lane is a husky 3-story brick building dating back to just after the great Chicago fire of 1871. The building is only 19 feet wide by 19 feet long and originally served as a horse stable to the first owners. Over the past 150 years it has seen many other iterations, mostly as tiny restaurants serving the financiers, politicians, and actors of yesteryear. The structure stands in stark contrast to its surroundings of high-rise buildings and bustling streets. Keep a keen eye out for the opening just east of the corner of Jackson Boulevard and State Street.
Thanks to Hero Coffee Roasters and in the words of David Bowie: We can (all) be heroes just for one day.
As you peer into the alley you are instantly transported from the encircling urbanscape to a scene you might easily find on a quiet pedestrian rue in Paris. There from the balcony above the entrance a grand illuminated COFFEE sign welcomes you to Hero Coffee Roasters, the latest inhabitant of this old barn. During the warmer months, café tables are set out in the alley for guests to sit and string lights crisscross above giving the area a warm glow. The shop interior charmingly embraces its age with the worn brick walls fully exposed, concrete floors, and thick oak countertops that nod back to the former chophouse that once lived here. The space gets a bright pop of yellow from the wires of the pendant lighting and the shelving across the back wall. The base of the coffee bar is covered in a gray and white floral-patterned tile, giving a touch of European flair.
There is only room enough inside for a few guests at a time to place their orders and retrieve their drinks. The baristas are hard at work making a variety of lattes, cappuccinos, and teas. Standouts include signature drinks like the honey nut and lavender lattes. They also offer a selection of pour over roasts each day: one light, one medium, one dark, with the menu on the wall displaying notes about the origin and distinct flavors of each. Hero serves a limited all-day breakfast menu as well as a selection of pastries from local bakeries. You can also takeaway bags of their whole bean coffees to brew at home. We suggest picking up the bourbon barrel aged Columbian Santander.
Hero Coffee Roasters is a Chicago-born company sourcing their coffee beans directly from growers and roasting those beans themselves out of their west side roastery. They do this to ensure the quality meets their high standards and to provide the very best coffee from the tree to your cup. They do it without boasting or seeking acclaim, just like true heroes. Thanks to Hero Coffee Roasters and in the words of David Bowie: We can (all) be heroes just for one day.
Need something a little stronger? You have two historic options nearby. The Berghoff holds City of Chicago liquor license #1 as the first bar to be licensed in Chicago after prohibition ended
Looking for new camera equipment? Head around the corner to Central Camera on Wabash Ave. They’ve been in business since 1899, they know what they’re doing
Need to stretch your legs? Walk east on Jackson Boulevard for 2 minutes and you’re at Grant Park. Take a picture at Buckingham Fountain and then take a stroll along the Lakefront Path
Coffee Roast: Hero Coffee Roasters